2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition
- Upgraded with higher-spec Xplor suspension
- A whole catalog of accessories included as standard
- Minimal price increase for all of the significant upgrades
- Included bags not very durable
- Windscreen fixed and not adjustable
- Have to buy different bag mounts if you want hard cases
There are so many options in the adventure-bike class that it can be overwhelming. However, middleweight, multicylinder models offer an ideal balance between power and weight that makes them very appealing. Husqvarna’s newest member of the Norden family, the 901 Expedition, is an upscale-trim version of the base model that’s more travel oriented and worth a look for those riders who enjoy longer adventures.
Husqvarna hit the road running with its original Norden 901 thanks in large part to its ties to sister brand KTM and the 890 Adventure models that serve as the bones for the Norden. But while the Norden 901 shares an engine and chassis with the KTMs, Husqvarna took a different direction with the styling, replacing the knife-edge angles of the KTM with smooth, modern lines that spark memories of classic Paris-Dakar bikes of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The look is entirely Husqvarna; a round LED headlight sits high above the front wheel, flanked by integrated fog lights and a steeply angled windscreen.
The Norden’s personality was intended to be equally as refined, Husqvarna deciding that the bike should be less aggressive and better suited to the everyday adventurer. By introducing the Expedition model right after, Husqvarna expanded on that concept by retaining much of what made the Norden 901 so great, but increasing its appeal with more travel-oriented hardware.
Where the Expedition truly distinguishes itself from the Norden 901 is in componentry. It shares the more stout Xplor suspension with KTM’s 890 R, gets a burly skid plate, as well as touring amenities like a more protective windscreen, centerstand, and luggage as standard.
Updates for 2023
While the Norden 901 Expedition was an all-new model for 2023, it’s based heavily on the standard Norden 901, which was introduced as a 2022 model and has yet to see any updates.
The big news here is the move to WP Xplor suspension. Comfort and convenience upgrades include heated grips and rider seat, a taller windshield, centerstand, soft luggage, and Connectivity Unit (optional on the base Norden), which allows you to connect your smartphone via Bluetooth to the motorcycle. Added protection comes in the form of a heavy-duty aluminum skid plate.
Pricing and Variants
The Norden 901 Expedition starts at $15,799—a modest price increase over the $14,499 Norden 901. The bike is available in just one color.
The middleweight ADV category continues to grow in terms of popularity, and manufacturers have found different solutions to the same problem, meaning there are multiple options with a range of features.
Entries into this space include the Yamaha Ténéré 700 ($10,499), KTM 890 Adventure ($13,949), BMW F 850 GS ($12,595), and even the standard Husqvarna Norden 901 ($14,499).
Ducati’s DesertX ($17,695) is a legitimate contender with some serious off-road chops, while Triumph has a range of Tiger 900 options available ($14,995 to $17,395).
More aggressive adventure models include the KTM 890 Adventure R ($15,199) and BMW F 850 GS Adventure ($13,595).
Note: Listed MSRP are the starting price, and costs will vary depending on features.
Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The power unit in the Expedition is identical in every regard to the base Norden. It’s the same 889cc LC8c parallel twin that also powers KTM’s 890 Adventure and 890 Adventure R. The liquid-cooled DOHC eight-valve engine produces a claimed 105 hp at 8,000 rpm and 74 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 6,500 rpm. The last KTM 890 Adventure R we ran on the Cycle World dyno cranked out 86.5 hp at 8,320 rpm and 58.1 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,870 rpm at the rear wheel. Service intervals are set at around 9,500 miles.
“The LC8c engine that the Norden shares with the orange bikes is, straight up, an awesome adventure-bike powerplant,” Editor-at-Large Blake Conner said in his Norden 901 Expedition review. “It comes down to the balance between on-road and off. What do you intend to ride and where? On the road, the Norden feels sporty and quick, easily lofting the front wheel in second gear and acting like a hooligan. When making a quick pass, a downshift from sixth to fifth (or maybe fourth) wakes it up nicely and allows you to blast past.
“Off-road, there is no denying that the LC8c is stout, not to the degree of the latest 1,200cc-plus monsters, but it doesn’t leave you wanting much more. In this era of awesome electronics, getting the most out of the engine is simply a matter of dialing in the intervention you’re comfortable with. That right there makes this bike a great choice for a huge range of riders. Expert riders will be totally happy letting it eat with big throttle openings and very little interference from the electronics, while others can find confidence through mellower delivery and more traction control.”
The Norden 901 Expedition has a chromoly-steel frame that utilizes the engine as a stressed member. Rake is set at 25.8 degrees, with 4.2 inches of trail. Out back is a die-cast aluminum swingarm that utilizes a linkless PDS shock. A spoked 21-by-2.5-inch front and 18-by-4.5-inch rear wheel with tubeless design are mounted with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires in 90/90-21 and 150/70-18 front and rear sizes.
What separates the Expedition from the standard model are the more off-road-friendly WP Xplor suspension units front and rear. At the front, the base model’s WP Apex 43 (43mm stanchion) fork is swapped for the Xplor 48 fork with much larger 48mm stanchions. While the Apex fork has provisions for compression and rebound, the Xplor adds preload to the mix. Similarly, at the rear, the Apex shock is swapped for an Xplor shock. The Apex unit on the standard model has preload and rebound damping, while the Xplor unit is fully adjustable with preload, compression, and high- and low-speed reboun damping.
Travel increases from the Apex’s 8.7 inches at the front and 8.5 inches at the rear to 9.4 inches at each end of the Expedition. This in turn increases the Expedition’s ground clearance 0.7 inch to 10.6, while also increasing the wheelbase slightly from 59.5 to 60.1 inches.
“For such a large machine, weighing more than 500 pounds fully fueled, the Expedition carries the weight well,” Conner said. “Like its cousin, the 890 Adventure, the Norden’s saddle fuel tanks put the mass down low. This really pays off when snaking through the sand and makes the bike feel a lot lighter than the numbers would lead you to believe.
“On the roughest terrain, soft and plush is the ticket. A few sections on our South Africa test included beat, ledgy, rock-strewn climbs, where momentum is key. Getting bounced off line by too-stiff suspension would have consequences, so the stock suspension setup on the bikes for the event proved to be really good. Picking a line through the biggest rocks isn’t a big deal as the Expedition tracks well as it sucks up the hits, and if you need to plow straight into some others to keep from losing that flow, so be it. After all, there’s no use in having that extra travel if you don’t utilize it, right?”
Consider also that, as good as the Pirelli tires are for most conditions, a more aggressive knobby front tire is worth considering for those who plan on riding a lot of sand.
The mechanical details of the braking system include J.Juan (a Brembo sub-brand) radial-mount four-piston calipers up front with 320mm discs, while a twin-piston caliper and 260mm disc reside out back.
Bosch’s 9.1 MP Cornering ABS utilizes an IMU to determine the bike’s lean angle and intervene accordingly when switched to the standard mode. In Offroad mode, ABS is turned off at the rear wheel so it can be completely locked, while the lean-sensitive function is turned off and ABS intervention reduced.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Fuel mileage numbers are not currently available for the Norden 901 Expedition.
Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility
“An area that Husky has done a great job finding balance is the riding position and ergonomics,” Conner said. “With a bunch of time spent off the asphalt, there is a lot of standing on the pegs. Placement of the bars is really good (they can be adjusted to six different positions with 30mm of fore and aft adjustment). While standing, getting a good view over the extra tall touring windscreen is not an issue, but in some other sections, when seated, seeing through that towering muddy screen is really difficult. We’d likely shop the accessory catalog for a lower screen if riding off-road on a regular basis was the plan. On the road, the windscreen provides excellent protection from the wind and the small air vent three-quarters of the way up does its job of reducing buffeting, even with an off-road helmet on.
“Husky really delivered the touring comfort that the Expedition name promises. When seated, the reach to the bars is quite comfortable, and the seat is not only very supportive but quite comfy, and can be adjusted to two heights, either 34.4 inches in the low position or 35.2 inches in the high setting. The Expedition comes standard with a heated rider seat (sorry, no passenger) and grips. With the seat in the lower position, knees are bent just a bit past 90 degrees, which basically means that long hours in the saddle are totally doable.”
The Husky’s brain is a Bosch engine management system with ride-by-wire throttle control. The system allows the rider to choose between four distinct modes including Street, Rain, Offroad, and Explorer. The latter is a user-customizable mode in which the rider can individually tailor traction control, throttle response, peak-power output, and ABS preferences to their liking. The Cornering MTC traction-control system is lean-angle sensitive and has nine levels of intervention for rear-wheel slip. The MTC also provides wheelie control depending on the chosen mode. Motor Slip Regulation manages engine-braking electronically to work in concert with the slipper clutch. Another nice feature that is possible with the ride-by-wire system is cruise control, which comes standard on the Expedition.
All lighting is LED including the headlight, a pair of fog lights, and slim turn signals. A 5-inch TFT display is the rider’s portal to the bike’s menus and information screens.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Husqvarna’s street models come with a 24-month limited warranty.
Fit and finish appear excellent, but it’s worth tracking any issues with the Norden 901′s stablemates from KTM to understand any mechanical issues that might arise in aggressive or long-distance riding.
2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition Specs
|Engine:||DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin; 4 valves/cyl|
|Bore x Stroke:||90.7 x 68.8mm|
|Claimed Horsepower:||105.0 hp @ 8,000 rpm|
|Claimed Torque:||74.0 lb.-ft. @ 6,500 rpm|
|Fuel System:||EFI w/ twin 46mm Dell’Orto throttle bodies|
|Clutch:||PASC slipper clutch; cable actuation|
|Engine Management/Ignition:||Bosch EMS w/ ride-by-wire|
|Front Suspension:||WP Xplor 48mm inverted fork, fully adjustable; 9.4 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||WP Xplor PDS shock, fully adjustable; 9.4 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Radial-mount 4-piston calipers, 320mm disc w/ Bosch ABS|
|Rear Brake:||2-piston floating caliper, 260mm disc w/ Bosch ABS|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Tubeless aluminum spoked wheels; 21 x 2.5 in. / 18 x 4.5 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR; 90/90-21 / 150/70-18|
|Ground Clearance:||10.6 in.|
|Seat Height:||34.4–35.3 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||5.0 gal.|
|Claimed Dry Weight:||473 lb.|